Photograph by Alvis Upitis
These guided tours are part of National Geographic Traveler's 50 Tours of a Lifetime for 2010 for the outfitters' commitment to authenticity, immersion, sustainability, and connection.
Hawaii, U.S.: The Sacred Big Island
Lured by idyllic beaches, killer surf, and a laid-back vibe, most visitors to Hawaii barely scratch the surface of its rich indigenous culture and history. This Native American specialty operator crafted a tour of the Big Island that delves into what Hawaiians hold sacred, including the volcano Kilauea, home of fire goddess Pele; Mookini Heiau, birthplace of King Kamehameha the Great; and the islands’ preeminent hula festival. Go Native America: “Native Hawaiian Paradise,” 10 days, $3,197.
New Zealand: Kiwi Sisterhood
Every February, Cheryl Fleet, founder of the company, leads a small group of women to her native New Zealand for two weeks of active fun. There’s sailing in the Bay of Islands, horseback riding on Pakiri Beach, hiking the Tongariro Crossing, rafting on the Rangitaiki River, and plenty of opportunities to mingle with Kiwis. Guests are welcomed in the homes of Fleet’s friends for several meals and an overnight at a Maori marae, or meeting place. Canyon Calling: "New Zealand—The Best,” 15 days, $4,495.
ACTIVE • VALUE
Indonesia: Coral Central
Snorkel among more than 500 species of coral and 1,300 species of fish in the waters surrounding the Raja Ampat Archipelago in Indonesia’s West Papua province—the heart of the so-called Coral Triangle and one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet. Accommodations are aboard a 12-passenger traditional Indonesian schooner. Oceanic Society: “Snorkeling in Raja Ampat Archipelago, Indonesia,” 11 days, $6,590 (including airfare from Jakarta).
CULTURE • WILDLIFE